Intellectual sloth

MontanaSam turns 30We went up in the mountains this weekend to celebrate non-brother-Sam’s birthday. A really lovely, much-needed time away with dear friends.

We also sit around and talk about Paris and Beirut and ISIS and the elections and fear and realize: We have no theoretical solutions. We are at a loss. (To solve the human condition?)

In light of this, Paul gave a helluva sermon yesterday, All Is Forgiven, which I recommend heartily. He speaks about the deeply, undeniably offensive nature of Christianity.

“Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great.” — William F. Buckley

Waiting for @jacktarpey's visit... #pyrrhagramPyrrha doesn’t care about any of this. She just wants to know who put her on a diet.

Human rights

A favorite recent anecdote, told to me by my coworker:

The topic of blood diamonds comes up when my coworker is home visiting her parents, who are very conservative, FOX News-abiding folk. Coworker tells her parents that our fellow coworker, P., recently said he’d never buy a future fiancee a diamond, because of the conflict regarding the precious stones and the fraught diamond trade in Africa. No one at the table knows much about blood diamonds, and so her mom says, “I don’t understand; what’s the problem?” Coworker says, “Well, it’s a human rights issue.” Mom’s eyes narrow, knowingly, and she says, “Ohh. I get it. So, he’s really liberal, huh?”

So! Score one for us, liberals! We have human rights on our side. Conservatives apparently don’t go in much for those.

Hot-button issues

I love finding people who keep their Issues and Causes very close to themselves; the people who start long, passionate conversations if you are fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to mention a word that triggers them. You said the word “corn” and all of the sudden you’re locked in an hour-long conversation about the evil machinations of the FDA and big agribusiness. I like finding these people because they make me feel a bit less alone. They remind me that maybe I’m not the only person who has to rein herself in (often unsuccessfully) during conversations.

I probably care too much about things that I don’t know that much about. I was realizing this today. I am too quick to express my quickly formed opinions.

And so I write this list to caution you. These are the things that could trigger a brutally long and vehement conversation with me. You have been warned.

  • Any permutation on the topic of dogs. (Dog breeds, training, health, adoption, behavior, psychology, etc.)
  • Why Ayn Rand isn’t worth a second of anyone’s time.
  • Law school.
  • Homeschooling.
  • Mega-churches fixated on growth.
  • Reproductive rights.
  • Why paper and ink books still matter.
  • Christians judging other Christians for being on birth control.
  • Sororities and fraternities.
  • What I’ve been reading lately.
  • Anti-women policies and practices of conservatives.
  • Childhood obesity.
  • Dolphins.
  • Underpaid teachers.

Anyone else? Do you have “hot-button issues” that invariably embroil you in desperate, heated discussions–almost against your will? I hope I’m not the only one…